(Photo: Ebru Yildiz)
Condé Nast said Tuesday it has acquired Pitchfork Media, adding to its large magazine portfolio the iconic online publication that ushered indie music into the mainstream.
For Condé Nast, the deal brings a credible, established brand to a coverage area that it has lacked – popular music.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
“Pitchfork is a distinguished digital property that brings a strong editorial voice, an enthusiastic and young audience, a growing video platform and a thriving events business,” Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg said in a statement.
Founded in 1995 by Ryan Schreiber, Pitchfork grew from a lean music blog into one of today’s most influential culture publications, tracking the rise of independent music as the genre became enveloped into mainstream culture.
In the mid-2000s, the site became known as a tastemaker for indie music. As the Internet blossomed as a distribution method for young bands, Pitchfork became a resource for curious listeners, informing its devoted base of readers which up-and-coming artists were, and weren’t, worth their attention. The best example of Pitchfork’sstar-making power is Arcade Fire, the Montreal indie rock band that rose to mainstream success and a 2011 Album of the Year Grammy win with the help of Pitchfork’s positive coverage at the outset.
Like Arcade Fire’s journey from dingy rock clubs to the Grammy’s stage, Pitchfork has evolved over its 20-year lifespan from an indie darling to a mainstream music site, reviewing albums by such artists as Kanye West and Taylor Swift while continuing to spotlight niche artists, to whom a positive Pitchfork review is still valuable currency.
The site had been lauded for its online innovation and distinctive voice, and attracts a monthly audience of “over six million unique visitors,” it says. Alongside its music news and reviews sections, the site incorporates more forward-thinking digital media trends into its coverage, publishing longform articles with cutting-edge web design and hosting Pitchfork TV, a video site that produces music documentaries, artist interviews and concert footage.
In recent years, Pitchfork Media has grown far beyond its music site, hosting two music festivals in Chicago and Paris and expanding into print publishing in 2013, launching The Pitchfork Review as a quarterly. Schreiber said Condé Nast would enable Pitchfork to gain “additional expertise and resources” and extend its coverage of artists and other music industry stories.
In a sign of the importance of its online audience and digital revenue, the Pitchfork Media team will report to Fred Santarpia, chief digital officer of Condé Nast.
“Music content is one of the most prolific genres of content on the web,” Santarpia said. “The acquisition of Pitchfork reflects Condé Nast’s continued belief in the power of authentic editorial voices to engage influential audiences at scale.”
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